EPA methane report further divides fracking camps

PITTSBURGH (AP) — A new report from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has dramatically lowered estimates of how much of a potent greenhouse gas is being leaked by the natural gas industry despite rapid growth in production.

The EPA now estimates that from 1990 to 2010, the U.S. natural gas industry released about 20 percent less methane into the atmosphere than previously thought, even though production increased by about 38 percent during that period.

Last year, the EPA had estimated that the methane emissions were rising sharply, not declining. EPA says it revised the data after new information showed that the industry makes more widespread use of emissions controls.

Some environmental groups and scientists claim that methane leaks have been seriously underestimated.

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